When an Employee is Too Good

“I have a fabulous employee that seems to want (and deserves) more than I’ll ever be able to provide. How do I handle this issue?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Is it possible for your employees to be too good for your company? Definitely. Especially when you have a small company. That may sound strange, but we’ve seen it happen several times.

You strive to hire people who are energetic, bright, and skilled. Everything works out great for a year or two and you’re patting yourself on the back about your brilliant recruiting abilities. In fact, you’ve already promoted this person once and they are ready for even more challenges.

Many companies will choose to create a new position for this stellar employee so they won’t lose them. But it’s a mistake you’ll pay for down the road. I can tell you that it’s tough to clean up a company full of employees with strange, made-up titles and inflated salaries.

Don’t promote promising employees into titles that can’t be sustained outside of your company. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by making them a senior manager with only the responsibilities of a supervisor. The title and level of responsibility should match up, both in your company and in others.

Your first responsibility is to your company. Ask yourself what positions are absolutely needed for maximum efficiency and production. If your best employees fit into those roles, great … promote them. But don’t make up roles just to placate your employees.

Small companies don’t have the number of departments and positions to allow much internal movement. Fighting this fact will only disrupt your company and lower employee morale due to perceived favoritism.

The best way to manage your stellar employee and extend the length of their employment is to find new challenges for them. Give them special projects that don’t belong to someone else. Have them help create training for others or give the training. Provide cross-training. Give them the task of coming up with ideas for expanding their position. Be imaginative.

If you are doing your job well, you need to be prepared to offer career advice that may take your best employees beyond your company. Sometimes, moving on is the only alternative for a good employee’s personal and career growth.

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